Ahhhh, Republicans. They forget, time and again, that microphones are listening even when you don’t want to be heard.
“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.” – Ronald Reagan, 1984
“One of them is to shoot the queers.” – Houston Mayoral Candidate Louie Welch, 1985
“You’re the pervert.” – Attributed to Joan Huffman, 2017
Houston Equality captured a sotto voce response, which they suggest could be attributed to Senator Joan Huffman, to a rhetorical question from a witness testifying in opposition to SB6. Let’s go to the tape:
Video by Houston Equality
Lest you are inclined to think Senator Huffman isn’t so bad and couldn’t have been the one muttering that, consider what had happened earlier, when a full table of people testifying in opposition to SB6, some of whom were transgender men and women who would be directly affected by the bill should it become law, were before her.
When calling the next witness, Senator Huffman misgendered a transman, and the tape makes it crystal clear what was said:
Is Senator Huffman unfamiliar with the name Seth, a name almost universally used by boys and men in our culture?
But Seth Wynn wasn’t the entire name in front of her.
Only a few minutes earlier, when she called up the panel of witnesses, she read out the full name under which this pastor had registered:
Seth. David. Wynn.
With two male names in front of her, Senator Huffman elected to use the honorific Ms. Possibly Miss. But clearly a female honorific. She was looking down the whole time. The entire name was in front of her.
Was it a mistake?
This was a state senator who has gone on record as opposing the basic human rights of transpeople seeing a man’s name, Seth David Wynn, on the page in front of her, and calling that person Ms.
As the witness list makes clear, Seth David Wynn included his preferred honorific when he signed in. He is shown on the witness list as Rev. Seth David Wynn, Sr. Pastor.
Reverend. Senator Huffman did not have to guess at his title. It was on the page in front of her. She was staring down at it.
Rev. is a gender-neutral title, and one which is generally afforded great respect in the Texas legislature. Not this time. Not by Senator Huffman.
Misgendering is an intentional insult, all too common in our culture. It is the highest insult, in some misguided and misogynistic circles, to denigrate men or boys whose performance is perceived to be lacking by calling them girls. In those same circles, one choice insult for men or boys who fail to live up to hyper-masculine expectations is taken from a slang term for female genitalia—pussy.
Intentional misgendering is harmful, and there is no excuse for a member of the Texas Senate insulting a witness by misgendering that person. Texans deserve better than Senator Huffman. Who is, by the way, up for re-election in 2018.